Access to Health and Dental Care to Uninsured and Low-Income Individuals

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Northwest Arkansas Free Health Center
City & State:
Fayetteville, AR 72701, 
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

The Northwest Arkansas Free Health Center provides health and dental care to uninsured and low income individuals, regardless of their ability to pay.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

The Northwest Arkansas Free Health Center (NWAFHC) has provided health and dental care to uninsured and low-income individuals in Northwest Arkansas since 1986. By using Microsoft products to streamline our paperwork and enhance our communications, our clinic has become more efficient and productive, just as our community’s need for our services has grown dramatically.To be eligible for services, patients have to be uninsured and their household income cannot be more than 200 percent above the Federal Poverty Level. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (2009), there are nearly 70,000 uninsured people in Northwest Arkansas. Those numbers are increasing steadily. In the current economic environment, many individuals have lost their jobs, and finding new jobs has become more difficult. As a result, many more people without health insurance are now looking for health and dental care at low cost or no cost clinics. Microsoft products have helped the NWAFHC to enhance our fundraising efforts, increase the range of volunteers recruited, and streamline the administrative paperwork. The NWAFHC uses Microsoft products for most of its fundraising activities. The clinic receives support through donations from individuals, foundations, corporations, civic clubs, and churches. The majority of financial support for the NWAFHC comes from foundations that require grant applications. The clinic’s fundraising staff uses Microsoft Word and Microsoft Office Outlook to research and communicate with funding sources, organize, outline, and write grants. We submit many applications online, using Microsoft Outlook. When grants are approved, Microsoft Excel helps us keep track of funds received and expended. Support is also solicited through presentations to civic clubs and organizations. Microsoft Office Power Point allows the NWAFHC to produce professional and quality marketing materials and presentations. Fundraising personnel lists donor contact and follow-up information on a Microsoft Office Excel spreadsheet to overview donor activity over a period of time. In 2003, the NWAFHC raised $118,600, whereas in 2008, we raised $333,600. The NWAFHC has two full-time and four part-time administrative employees, one part-time medical provider, in addition to 35 medical, 20 dental, and 25 lay volunteers. The clinic is currently open 30 hours per week. Microsoft software has increased the range of volunteers that NWAFHC recruits and has improved the scheduling of volunteers. Since we began using Microsoft Office Outlook, we recruit volunteers more effectively and schedule volunteer hours more efficiently. In 2003, the clinic had a volunteer pool of 20 individuals, which has grown to 80 individuals in 2008. The clinic used to recruit volunteers through letters, phone calls, and word of mouth contacts that were time intensive. Now, the clinic uses Microsoft Office Outlook to email Microsoft PowerPoint recruiting material to academic advisors who relay that information to their pre-med, pre-dental, and pre-pharmacy students who are very eager to gain experience prior to enrolling in professional schools. The clinic replies back to interested student volunteers via email and uses email to schedule their volunteer work hours. The clinic uses Microsoft Office Outlook when recruiting medical and dental professionals as well. Similarly, the clinic uses Microsoft Office Outlook to communicate with board members and staff. Much productivity would be lost, if volunteers, staff, and board members were contacted via telephone, paper message note, or mail. Several resources contributed to the NWAFHC’s success, including technological, human, and financial ones. In 2002, the clinic acquired computers with Microsoft Windows XP and Office Professional software. Furthermore, the NWAFHC purchased RX Assist Plus, a patient data base and prescription assistance software that required Microsoft Windows 2000 or Windows XP Professional or Windows XP Home Edition to be functional. These computers and software facilitated the NWAFHC change from keeping patient demographics and health information on paper spreadsheets to a computer data base. Now, patient information is accessed easier and quicker, making operations less time consuming and more productive, and data reporting much easier. For example, the clinic’s patient advocate could access prescription assistance programs and enrollment forms with RX Assist Plus and the internet immediately, which allowed quicker enrollment and organization. In 2008, the NWAFHC changed to MedServices, a patient tracking software program for free clinics, which operates using a Microsoft Windows server. Microsoft software enables the executive director to compare prices or purchase supplies on line. There is no quicker or more efficient way to replenish materials or order equipment than via the internet, using Microsoft Office Outlook. Thanks to Microsoft products, we have more effective data handling, increased funding, and more volunteers, all of which have empowered us to increase our operating hours and to work with significantly increasing numbers of patients.The NWAFHC provides general medical clinics, women’s clinics, dermatology clinics, dental clinics, dental hygiene services, physical therapy, diabetes and nutrition education, prescription services, indigent drug programs, and referrals to specialists. The NWAFHC has responded to the escalating demand for free health and dental care by increasing its services to accommodate more patients every year. For example, in 2003, the clinic served 4,400 patients, whereas in 2008, that number reached 10,940. The features offered by Microsoft products have helped the NWAFHC’s staff and volunteers perform and function in the best possible well-organized and efficient manner to achieve maximum results, namely increasing access to medical and dental care for uninsured and low-income individuals as the need for these services continues to grow.It is the goal of the NWAFHC to open its doors five days per week to service more patients. To reach that goal, we need to publicize the expansion of the clinic and our services to the community and prospective donors, and we must intensify fundraising efforts. Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Office Publisher, will assist the NWAFHC in producing professional marketing materials and campaigns.

Submission Category
Transformations to Maximize Impact